COVER STORIES for 11/19/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #80
All right, faithful readers (and also those of you reading this column for the first time), welcome to another edition of "Cover Stories!"
This time around, I'm taking a look at some foreign edition comics, reprinting US comic books for other countries in their native language!
Let's start with four issues from Atlantic Serien, a Swedish edition book, which appears to reprint Fantastic Four stories!
Here's the first two issues I'm presenting this week... issues 8 and 9 from 1979! As you can see, in Sweden, the FF were known as "Fantastiska Fyran," and the cover images appear to be using art (however relettered) from the original FF comics! Also, based on which issues the covers come from, it appears that each issue of this book reprints not one, but two issues of the Fantastic Four!
Issue 8, for example, features the cover from Fantastic Four 114 by John Buscema. On the original cover, the blurb reads "Who can stop the Over-Mind?" and the Thing is saying, "Hey you guys! Look what's comin' at us!"
It would appear that in Swedish, "The Over-Mind" translates to "Hjärn-Mjästaren"! Given that issue 9's cover comes from FF 116, I'm guessing that issue 8 reprinted FF 114 and 115, both published in 1971, putting Atlantic Serien about eight years behind at this time.
As I said, issue 9's cover comes from Fantastic Four 116, also by Buscema. In case you're wondering why Doctor Doom (whose name seems to translate more or less the same) is fighting alongside the Thing, the Invisible Girl, and the Human Torch, I believe it's because the Over-Mind has basically taken over Reed Richards' mind or otherwise took him out of action, and Doom is the only one who can help them defeat the alien villain!
I'm guessing this issue also reprinted FF 117, obviously!
Skipping over issue 10, let's take a look at issue 11's cover! Although a bit recolored, it's definitely from the cover of FF 122, which is rather, well, odd. Because if they did reprint two issues of FF in each issue of this book, then issue 10 would've had FF 118 and 119... and that leaves two issues unaccounted for, doesn't it? Indeed, issue 10 of this title had the cover for issue 120... so maybe there were three issues reprinted of FF in each issue of Atlantic?
Issue 12's cover was originally printed as the cover for FF 132, and the cover blurb on the Atlantic issue seems to indicate 64 pages per issue... so I have to admit that I'm completely lost trying to figure out what was up with this comic reprint series!
So, let's move on to something else, okay? Here's three issues of "Serie•Pocket":
This was another Swedish comic reprint title... but this one is very, very different from Atlantic! Based on the title of the series, I'm guessing that it was a pocket-sized reprint book (and I could be just misinterpreting things). So far as which characters appeared in this book... well, the covers feature Beetle Bailey, Superman, and Archie - and those are on the only four covers that the Grand Comics Database has available! Doing a quick Google search, I find other issues featuring Laurel and Hardy, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Peanuts, the Hulk, the Phantom, and characters I don't even recognize! And to make matters worse, it almost appears that "Seriepocket" might just be Swedish for "Comic Book," so I could be completely confused here!
Anyway... the first of those covers I have to show you is from issue 68, and honestly, I don't know if it was done by a Swedish comic book artist or if it was reprinted from somewhere! The art looks vaguely like Dick Dillin's work, so could have been from a Justice League of America issue, for all I know. "Stalmannen" literally translates as "Man of Steel," if you're curious.
The second cover is from "Archie," known as "Acke" there - and notice that Riverdale's resident redhead is a blond here! This may well feature artwork originally run in a US Archie comic - but there are just way too many Archie comic covers to check out for me to even consider trying to figure out which one it came from (if any!).
It does appear that each issue of this comic was 128 pages, which would seem to indicate that it reprints four comics in each issue (geez, did every country other than the US regularly publish extra-thick comic books?).
The third cover, which is a bit out of order, is from issue 77, and I'm guessing this is definitely the work of a Swedish artist, because it doesn't look like any DC Comics artists' work I can recognize!
Now, if you thought that was a funky mix of stuff... check out this last one!
Here's issue 2 from the 1977 volume of "Topp-Serien," and yes, it's another Swedish comic book... and it features Träsk Mannen, Kamandi, and Charlie Anka... or as we know them, Swamp Thing, Kamandi, and... Howard the Duck?!? Yes, that's right, two DC features and a Marvel feature!
There are other covers in the series that have the Shadow (from DC's series) as well... and then there's some other features that are only mentioned in the text that I can't even begin to guess what they are (and they could be original series, for all I know).
I've got loads of other foreign edition covers in my scan collection, and there are loads more available on the Grand Comics Database (http://www.comics.org) we well as other places on the web, so you can be sure we'll be returning to this theme in the future!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," when we return to the alternate reality Charlton comics series "Drive-In Movie Classics" (recently mentioned in the magazine Charlton Spotlight) -- and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !